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South-West Sydney Infrastructure

Hansard ID: HANSARD-1323879322-139256

Hansard session: Fifty-Eighth Parliament, First Session (58-1)

South-West Sydney Infrastructure

Mrs JUDY HANNAN (Wollondilly) (17:00:35):

I move:

That this House:

(1)Recognises past Labor and Coalition governments have missed opportunities in south-west Sydney.

(2)Calls on all parties to provide infrastructure along with approved growth.

(3)Calls on the New South Wales Government to recognise the need for investment in south-west Sydney.

(4)Calls on the Government to recognise the future growth and population needs by reviewing previous studies and business cases and undertaking further investigations into the Maldon-Dombarton railway line.

What does "MD" stand for? It stands for not only a medical doctor but also something that can improve the health and wellbeing of many people: the Maldon-Dombarton line. The centre of Sydney is no longer the CBD. Is it Western Sydney, somewhere between Petersham and Springwood or between Parramatta and the Blue Mountains? These areas are where the majority of government money is spent. The reality is that every day the huge number of houses from Leppington to Bowral drags that centre towards the south-west, to growing communities like my own, in Wollondilly, which has not only been forgotten but also used with no consideration of missed opportunities. I was elected to this place on a very clear mandate, not only for infrastructure like the Picton bypass but also for my community's assessment of the major political parties putting out the same spin and promises each time: the same plans unveiled for things that will never take place, the same big novelty cheques and then the delivery of nothing.

This motion seeks to have Parliament and all parties recognise the errors of the past and also address the opportunities that, if done correctly, would benefit not only my community but the entire Macarthur region and beyond—in fact, the whole of New South Wales. It is unbelievable to have planning approval for massive areas of growth with no infrastructure. It is ridiculous that thousands of people are to live in places such as Wilton with the promise of a 30-minute city but they have no hospital, no high school, no jobs and no sewer treatment plant—yes, we truck it in and out—and, most importantly, no connectivity to anywhere other than a traffic queue. The Government continues to be reactive to developers. Why do we not have a plan that drives them to deliver what we and the community want and need, to lay out the plan they must follow, not the other way around? I remember Campbelltown years ago as a rural area with a hospital surrounded by paddocks ready for growth. Since then our whole Macarthur area has grown and continues to stretch south endlessly in a sea of grey roofs.

We have very little infrastructure. Narellan Road and Northern Road have been rebuilt over and over with traffic lights every 400 metres, and more and more houses. Those houses are filled with families who drive hours to their jobs because there are minimal employment opportunities locally. In Leppington, Camden, Campbelltown and Wollondilly our commuting population is between 50 per cent and a staggering 70 per cent. I hear other members talk about teacher shortages in their schools. But we do not even have the schools. Our students fare much worse because we have only one public high school in the Wollondilly local government area, and students travel for hours each day. This area is as large as the entire Sydney metropolis, with one high school. We have few trains. The Southern Highlands line is managed by Australian Rail Track Corporation, which favours freight, and our commuter service of one train every hour at peak times often runs late or is cancelled outright, and that is for the few villages that have the service. Our residents park in Campbelltown and Leppington after driving for an hour or so and take up the limited commuter car-parking spaces.

But things can be different. We need good governance and a mature discussion about what is needed not only for the population now but also for the expectation of the population and generations of tomorrow—a plan and a vision to make our State a great place to live and work in. We are at the crossroads. The aerotropolis is now at our doorstep in south-west Sydney. There will be plenty of imposition on my community, with 24/7 planes, airport noise and loss of rights for secondary dwellings, but no investigation into opportunities. The Government needs to look for the widespread opportunities this airport provides and recognise the growth taking place within south-west Sydney. Let us think for a moment. What do we have? Growth with no infrastructure, a new airport and a huge housing crisis recognised by every member, who all say no to a solution in their backyards.

That brings me to the point, by a long way round. The Maldon-Dombarton line remains incomplete after a promise stretching from the Labor Wran Government. For five years work was done on bridges, and in 1988 the Liberal Greiner Government cancelled the project, despite telling my community, before the election, that the Liberals would complete it. That broken promise has left the line incomplete to this day, with massive half‑completed bridges and an intact corridor right through the growth area. In 2011 a feasibility study on completing the line was done by the then outgoing Labor Government. It was not a business case but an election commitment that led to a promise of contracts that were never delivered. In 2014 there was a business case through a registration of interest process. That was solely for a freight line.

We are now 10 years down the track, and 30,000 homes have been approved in Wollondilly, as well as tens of thousands in Leppington, Camden and Campbelltown. There are also huge developments at the south end of the corridor, in Dapto, Wollongong and Port Kembla. The University of Wollongong had a study done by the South West Illawarra Rail Link—SWIRL—because it would benefit the Illawarra and beyond. Lachlan Regional Transport Committee, which represents councils from as far away as Dubbo and Cowra, has the completion of this line as a priority. We might ask why. Its produce travels the city line, with the imposition of a curfew to allow passenger travel in peak hours. It knows that its product could get to the port with less cost and in a faster time via Illawarra. We have an approved airport, and we have a need for freight to get off Picton and Appin roads. All the money spent on duplication of those roads will not fix the issue of transport.

I believe we can do better. The motion asks the Government and the Opposition to recognise the errors of the past and fix them together. Let us be forward thinking. The motion recognises the reality of the future and asks both parties to be mature and provide for areas of growth and the opportunities with a current business case. The task I have for us is to draw a line in the sand now and start providing together for a better future for the people of New South Wales. I look forward to the debate and urge all members to support the motion.

Dr MARJORIE O'NEILL (Coogee) (17:07:23):

I thank the member for Wollondilly for bringing this important motion to this House, and acknowledge her advocacy for her community. I acknowledge the presence of the member for Campbelltown in the Chamber, and his ongoing advocacy and for his community on this issue. I reaffirm the New South Wales Government's commitment to improving access to public transport in our communities, and I appreciate that residents in south-west Sydney have comparatively few options to travel by public transport. The Government understands that south-west Sydney continues to be one of the fastest growing regions in New South Wales. Development of a transport infrastructure network and services are critical to providing sustainable travel options. Key parts of these corridors have been identified and protected through gazettal.

A keystone of the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan is the new M12 motorway, a $2.04 billion project for a 16‑kilometre east‑west motorway between the M7 motorway at Cecil Hills and the Northern Road at Luddenham, including a connection to the Western Sydney international airport. The motorway will support between 2,000 direct and 2,400 indirect jobs during its delivery. Major work started in August 2022 and will be completed before the Western Sydney international airport opens, in 2026. Various local roads and precincts are being upgraded to enhance connectivity, accessibility and overall quality of life in south-western Sydney. Those infrastructure investments are crucial for the region's development, economic growth and improved transportation. In the 2023-24 budget, the New South Wales Government allocated $770 million to establish the Urban Road Fund over four years. The key projects include planning for upgrades on the Fifteenth Avenue Smart Transit Corridor, which is a vital east-west link between Liverpool and Bradfield providing a direct bus connection; duplicating key sections of Heathcote Road; and upgrading Bandon Road, Henry Lawson Drive at Milperra and Hill Road at Homebush.

Significant investment in roads also supports more efficient bus services, including new bus routes to connect the airport precinct and adjacent metropolitan centres. The 2023-24 New South Wales budget included $302.7 million for new bus services that will connect local population centres, including Campbelltown, Penrith and Liverpool, to the aerotropolis, providing additional public transport options that will be available even before the airport opens. To connect the Illawarra and Shoalhaven to south-western Sydney, the Government is building an interchange on the M1 Princes Motorway at the base of Mount Ousley. The work will lead to improved access between Illawarra and Western Sydney including the Wilton and Greater Macarthur growth areas. The Mount Ousley interchange project will improve safety and reliability for light and heavy vehicles, increase capacity for future traffic growth, and improve access and travel times for vehicles using the M1 Princes Motorway to travel to and from Wollongong CBD and University of Wollongong.

The Government has committed to deliver an Illawarra Rail Resilience Plan, which is currently in the early stages of development. As part of that plan, Transport for NSW will examine options to improve resilience, reliability and connectivity between Port Kembla, south-western Sydney and the South Coast. The member for Wollondilly has specifically raised the Maldon-Dombarton rail line, and I am aware of proposals to complete the line to enhance freight and passenger services between the Illawarra and south-western Sydney. There have been several studies and reports on the line, and Transport for NSW will continue to investigate options for it. Transport infrastructure is key in connecting communities to economic opportunities, enhancing access to essential services such as health and education, and facilitating social connection. The opportunities to support the growing communities in south-western Sydney are immense and they are equally matched by the will of the Government to support those hardworking, under-served communities.

TEMPORARY SPEAKER (Mr Alex Greenwich):

Before I call the member for Oatley, I acknowledge in the public gallery guests of the member for Davidson, who are year 12 student leaders from the Davidson electorate Amber, Alan, Nathan, Annika, Leo, Claire, Jessica, Rowan, Ricky, Aaron, Laura, Shirley, Emily, Indiana, Emma, Kiki and Luca. I welcome them to the New South Wales Parliament. They have come at a good time; we are about to hear from the member for Oatley.

Mr MARK COURE (Oatley) (17:12:28):

It is a good time. I also welcome the school leaders from the Davidson electorate. I note the member for Wollondilly's comments about missed opportunities. However, the member has failed to acknowledge the many achievements and significant investments of the previous Liberal‑Nationals Government in south-western Sydney. We on this side of the House, unlike those opposite, have a proud, strong track record when it comes delivering for south-western Sydney, spanning across health, education, roads and transport infrastructure. Our investments in the region made it fit for the future. By 2031 close to 1.3 million people are expected to call south-western Sydney home. In health—I am sure the member for Holsworthy will mention it later—the former Government invested a record $790 million into Liverpool Hospital to transform it into the Liverpool Health and Academic Precinct. That significant redevelopment will ensure the long-term health and economic wellbeing of communities right across south‑western Sydney.

Our health investments did not end there. In 2022 the Liberal‑Nationals Government was able to celebrate the opening of a new 12-storey clinical services building at Campbelltown Hospital, the centrepiece of a $632 million stage two redevelopment. I am sure the member for Campbelltown will acknowledge the wonderful contributions of the previous Government.

Mr Greg Warren:

I worked hard for that.


The member for Campbelltown will have his chance to support the previous Government in a second. That was in addition to a $134 million first stage redevelopment of Campbelltown Hospital and the completion of a $34 million hospital car park. That major investment in Campbelltown Hospital is strengthening frontline services to deliver better services sooner and closer to home, with a state-of-the-art building that is helping service the more than 130,000 new residents expected to call the region home over the next decade. In education our Government was investing $8.6 billion in school infrastructure to deliver 160 new and upgraded schools. Labor closed 90 of them when it was last in government.

Ms Charishma Kaliyanda:

None in south-western Sydney.


I will get to that in a second. We opened Edmondson Park Public School, which offers 44 teaching and learning spaces, four support classrooms and two preschool rooms, accommodating up to 1,000 students and adding 40 preschool places for community use. We also opened Gregory Hills Public School, which includes temporary facilities such as 12 general air‑conditioned learning spaces, a staff and administration building, library, communal hall, canteen and more. Those are just two examples over the past four years. We also upgraded many other schools. We invested in many south-western Sydney schools, including Denham Court Public School, Oran Park High School, Glenfield Park School, Ingleburn High School, Prestons Public School and more.

The South West Rail Link Extension, delivered on time and on budget, was an achievement of the Liberal‑Nationals Government. Our Transport Access Program provided accessibility upgrades to train stations right across south‑western Sydney in Panania, East Hills, Canley Vale and, of course, Narwee in my own electorate. We had a plan to increase and improve services for south-western Sydney and we were delivering on those promises. Who could forget that it was a Liberal‑Nationals government that invested in the commencement of the $206 million Spring Farm Parkway stage one project, connecting communities across the Macarthur region. On completion, that significant project will provide direct access for residents to the employment precincts across the local area.

My role as shadow Minister for South-Western Sydney demonstrates the Opposition's focus on that important area. Interestingly, Labor does not have a Minister representing south-western Sydney. Opposition members will continue to fight and call on the Government to ensure that the significant improvements the previous Government made will continue in south-western Sydney. The people of south-western Sydney should not have to miss out on investments they deserve just because the Minns Labor Government is more concerned about itself than about listening to what the community needs. We on this side of the House delivered on health, education, transport and roads, unlike those opposite, who have failed the people of south-western Sydney.

Mr NATHAN HAGARTY (Leppington) (17:17:39):

In supporting the motion, I will inject some objectivity and some facts into the debate after the contribution of the member for Oatley. I thank the member for Wollondilly for bringing forward her motion. She was elected just under 12 months ago, as I was. Along with her election as the member for Wollondilly and mine as the member for Leppington came a wave of change across south-western Sydney, not because we were new MPs but because we brought a new attitude of working together constructively despite politics, personalities and factions to bring about the best results for south-western Sydney. There is no better example of that than the fantastic motion before the House. I make special mention of the member for Campbelltown, who is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Western Sydney. He has been a strong advocate for Appin Road, for which he has been fighting for 10 years. Action is happening on that after 12 years of neglect by those opposite.

The member for Camden is another newbie who has hit the ground running, working constructively to clean up the mess left by the previous Liberal member. She is working hard to provide express buses to the airport, and we are also working on a business case to establish a train to the airport. I mention the airport because it is an important catalyst. Despite the argy-bargy, I think we can agree on one thing: The airport in Western Sydney is a project of immense national importance, and the Government will be happy to cut the ribbon on it at the end of 2026. But the key to an airport and an aerotropolis is having those important transport links, and that is what we are talking about today.

I will mention a few other members from south-west Sydney. The member for Cabramatta, who is behind me, has been working hard to ensure that we fix the mess caused by the train timetable of the previous Government—which slashed buses—as have the member for Liverpool and my good friend the member for Fairfield, who is advocating to ensure that the Transport Access Program is again based on priority and not on shoring up marginal Coalition seats. We have already had wins—the member for Macquarie Fields finally has a lift at Macquarie Fields station. Within 12 short months we are delivering lifts, schools and upgrades to roads.

That is just transport infrastructure, but let us talk about health and education. We have already started putting money towards an upgrade to Fairfield Hospital, which is very close to my heart. It is where my two children were born and I have visited on a number of occasions after some accidents—sprains, breaks and cracks. It has not had any attention for many years, but we are changing that. We are also looking at a site for a new hospital out at the aerotropolis, and we are making strides in health and education. The member for Oatley gave a bit of a spiel about education but—and I have said this many times—despite all the growth in my electorate around the suburbs of Austral, Leppington and Denham Court, the previous Government built not a single public high school. It stands condemned for that.

But I am happy to announce that we are building a new school, which will open in 2027. The people of Leppington and the south-west will be very happy to see that. The Government is also investing in plenty of other schools, not just in Leppington but right across the area—because this debate is not about Leppington but about south‑west Sydney—including Camden, another area that was neglected. Kids there had to go to school in demountables that were slapped together a couple of years before an election. I thank the member for Wollondilly. This is the start of a very constructive relationship. Let us keep fixing the mess caused by the previous Government.

Mrs TINA AYYAD (Holsworthy) (17:22:55):

I speak against the motion of the member for Wollondilly. The former Liberal-Nationals Government delivered record infrastructure funding to south-west Sydney. Let us not forget the remarkable strides made in delivering record infrastructure for our region. Some key achievements of the Coalition Government in my electorate and wider south-west Sydney included investing $188 million in the upgrade and duplication of Heathcote Road between The Avenue and Infantry Parade, and investing $790 million in the redevelopment of Liverpool Hospital, making it one of the most advanced and modern health precincts in the Southern Hemisphere. That state-of-the-art facility is also a trauma hospital and has a very high level neonatal intensive care unit [NICU]. One of my children spent time in that NICU, and the staff and facilities there are absolutely amazing. Well done to the former Coalition Government.

It invested $53.4 million in the Carnes Hill aquatic centre to build a 50-metre pool and wellness centre, $43.9 million in the Woodward Park project and $27.7 million in the Light Horse Park embellishment upgrade, which I look forward to visiting in May for its stage one opening. The Coalition also committed to extending Metro West from Bankstown to Glenfield via Liverpool—which members opposite want to ditch and cut; no transport for us!—building the metro from Western Sydney International Airport to St Marys, and many more infrastructure projects that will have a long-lasting legacy for the people of Holsworthy and the broader south‑west Sydney region.

If members want to see missed opportunities, cuts and south-west Sydney being ignored, they need look no further than the current Government. Labor scrapped the proposed metro line to Liverpool, and instead buses will continue to clog our already-congested roads. Labor's mates in Canberra pulled their funding for the M7-M12 interchange, and we are now left to pick up the tab—what an absolute delight! Labor's mates in Canberra also left us $1.65 billion worse off in the GST carve-up, meaning we will not reach a budget surplus this financial year as predicted. Labor gutted funding for the Active Kids and Creative Kids vouchers, which were relied upon by so many families in the State and particularly south-west Sydney. Labor members dragged their feet on committing to the metro from the CBD to Parramatta, and even now there are question marks around its viability if the Australian Turf Club does not end up selling Rosehill racetrack. Their track record is to either delay or deny—to deny the right of south-west Sydney residents to world‑class infrastructure and government services.

I highlight the deceit of Labor members with one of their biggest commitments made during the 2023 State election. I drive on Fifteenth Avenue in the Liverpool local government area almost every day to take my children to school. It is a single-lane road serving the greenfield suburb of Austral. Some mornings it takes more than 40 minutes to travel a kilometre due to the traffic, and what did Labor do? This is gold. The Labor Government committed $50 million to upgrade Fifteenth Avenue, but it was recently revealed in budget estimates that the funding was not for the upgrade but to plan for the upgrade. The good people of Austral needed the upgrade yesterday, and now it has been revealed that it will not happen any earlier than 2027.

The 2023-24 State budget was also a let‑down for education, with recurrent expenditure increasing by only 0.9 per cent in nominal terms. However, inflation is projected at 4.5 per cent, meaning there is a real cut of 3.6 per cent in overall education expenditure. It is such a shame that the brunt of the cuts will be felt by children in western and south-western Sydney. For example, not a single school within Holsworthy received funding for upgrades in the budget. There are still classrooms without air‑conditioning units. Shame! The Minns Government should be condemned for forgetting the bricks and mortar of our education system. Our public schools deserve constant and recurrent investment to give the next generation the best opportunities.

TEMPORARY SPEAKER (Mr Alex Greenwich):

I call the member for Kiama, as Standing Order 109 mandates that a member of the crossbench must participate in public interest debates. Other members may seek leave to make a contribution after the member for Kiama.

Mr GARETH WARD (Kiama) (17:28:27):

I strongly support the motion put forward by my colleague the member for Wollondilly, and I hope the fact that I am supporting the motion does not mean that members will look upon it pejoratively. This very important motion relates to a critical piece of infrastructure that will deal with the rail freight corridor, which has been in conflict and getting worse for quite some time. Many people have talked about that. We see more freight on our roads, and the passenger-freight conflict on our rail network also needs to be addressed. That would certainly do a lot to alleviate traffic on the roads that run through the electorate of the member for Wollondilly, but it would also be critical to enhancing opportunities in the Illawarra.

I remember that this issue was discussed during my time as Parliamentary Secretary. An expression of interest was released by former Minister Duncan Gay. Sadly, that did not go anywhere. One of the reasons it did not is there was talk that the outer harbour expansion of Port Kembla needed to be brought on to ensure the freight throughput to the port was sufficient to make it viable. I think it is something that we should commit to, but I also think we should acknowledge that Labor Party members have had a lot to say on this particular issue. I note the conspicuous absence of the so-called Minister for the Illawarra, who is not in the Chamber. I also note the absence of the planning Minister—the Premier pro tem himself—who is not here either. I will come back to him.

This project was on Bob Carr's wish list in 1997. Labor members say that they are for infrastructure, but we have to go back a few Labor Premiers. When Labor first started talking about it, it did nothing about it. In August 2019 a bloke called Albanese said the Maldon-Dombarton line "stacked up" more than a decade ago, and it was now more important than ever. He committed $50 million—remember, this will cost around $3 billion but he committed the sum total of $50 million to the project. I come back to my friend, Premier pro tem Mr Scully. In 2018 he said:

Despite warnings that the South Coast Line will be overwhelmed by increased congestion, the Berejiklian Government remains unwilling to invest real money to get the Maldon-Dombarton rail link back on track. NSW Labor has $50 million—

again, that figure—

on the table to partner with the private sector to kick-start the completion of the Maldon-Dombarton rail link. The future viability of the Port of Port Kembla depends on the completion of the Maldon-Dombarton project. The Maldon-Dombarton rail link just can't continue to remain on a long 'to do' list in glossy, photo-filled documents.

But where is the planning Minister now? The man talks about a big housing agenda but has no real plan, no infrastructure to go with it, does not talk about the impact on roads. Where is that great visionary, the member for Wollongong, who in opposition would stride up and down behind this table and talk about projects? Now that they are actually in government, Government members behave like they are in opposition. They have absolutely no plan to deliver infrastructure for the Illawarra—a region that they totally take for granted. Minister Scully continued his diatribe of stupidity. On 8 March 2017, in this very Parliament, he said, "But does anyone really think that the project will get any cheaper by delaying it …" Where are the mighty Illawarra Labor members? Where are they? None of them has even bothered to come to the House today to talk about the impact.

Ms Charishma Kaliyanda:

Because this is about south-west Sydney.


No. I am sorry, but this is also about passenger-freight conflicts on the South Coast line and freight coming out of Port Kembla. One of my favourite quotes is from the member for Whitlam. He spoke about this project in the Federal Parliament. He talked about the cuts to infrastructure and said the people in his electorate and throughout the Illawarra had been waiting for this since 1988. What is the member for Whitlam right now? He is the Assistant Treasurer. He has his hand on the chequebook. For once, he could actually do something for his electorate other than put his name on the ballot paper every three years. He could actually invest in the Illawarra. Labor members talk a big game, but in government they just deliver for their paymasters in the trade union movement without delivering the infrastructure that makes a real difference.

Albanese, Scully, Park and Jones are on the record saying that they will actually do something about this. But when they are in the Cabinet room—when they are sitting around the Expenditure Review Committee table with the opportunity to do something—members of this Labor Government vacate the field. They are absolutely all talk and no delivery. I commend the member for Wollondilly for standing up for her community—for coming to this Parliament and saying to this Government, "All talk. Time to deliver and time to get on with infrastructure that makes a real difference, grows the local economies of our regions and provides the vital infrastructure that growing communities need, but you continue to ignore."

Mrs TANYA DAVIES (Badgerys Creek) (17:33:32):

I speak in support of my neighbour, the member for Wollondilly, who is a fierce and passionate fighter for her community. Together, we represent the suburbs accommodating the fastest growth and infrastructure investment—initiated by the former State and Federal Liberal‑Nationals governments—that New South Wales has ever witnessed. The former Liberal‑Nationals Government took New South Wales from being last behind every other State and Territory in Australia to number one on all economic indicators. Our citizens were experiencing the transformational vision that we brought with our leadership.

Regrettably, but not surprisingly, the current Federal and State Labor governments have no vision for the future of our communities in western and south-western Sydney, which is demonstrable by the cuts to investment that they have wielded since coming to power. Their lack of vision for our State and region is palpable, and our citizens and communities will now pay the price for their failure. I call on the Minns Labor Government and its Federal counterparts not only to restore the funding they cut to necessary infrastructure, but also to turbocharge their investment in New South Wales's biggest economy—Western Sydney. By failing to do so, the New South Wales Labor Government has missed the opportunities arising out of the Western Sydney International (Nancy‑Bird Walton) Airport, the Aerotropolis and the Bradfield City vision.

The Government also failed to stand up for the people of New South Wales, including in my electorate of Badgerys Creek and our Western Sydney region, against the Albanese Government's savage infrastructure cuts. The Federal Labor Government made the atrocious decision to cancel vital infrastructure funding, like its very own M12‑M7 interchange connection, which would provide motorway connectivity for vehicles and passengers to the Federal Government's own infrastructure project. It has cut the funding to that essential connection point. It is the Federal Government's own project; it is unbelievable. To delay the announcement of those cuts until this stage of the State and Federal electoral cycles compounds the detriment. It is reflective of putting politics before people.

The New South Wales Government's failure to stand up to the Albanese Government's cuts makes it no better than its Federal counterpart. Failing the community is a recurring theme for this Minns Labor Government. It could not keep in place cost-of-living support measures that the previous Coalition Government introduced, even when there was no pressure or rationale for such measures to be scrapped. What hope does it have of standing up to its Federal Labor counterpart? Today we were told that Federal Labor will slash the GST funding for New South Wales by up to $10 billion over the next four years. We need to see leadership and strength from the Premier of New South Wales, who must demand that that funding is returned to the citizens of this State—or the students in the gallery who are watching this debate and their families will suffer. When will we see a strong political leader stand on the side of residents rather than remaining a silent puppet of the union leaders who are really running New South Wales?

Some of the affected projects in my electorate include the Mulgoa Road upgrade and the pivotal M7‑M12 interchange project. They are amongst the countless projects that are critical for the growth and development of Badgerys Creek and Western Sydney more broadly, and which promised to revolutionise the region's infrastructure landscape. Another urgent project that the New South Wales Labor Government must prioritise is the extension of the Sydney Metro airport line to Macarthur, servicing the growing suburbs of Oran Park, Arcadian Hills and Maryland and Birling estates—just to name a few of the suburbs that are absorbing the population growth in south-western Sydney. Affordable commuter connectivity is critical to ensure that people can get to work, school and entertainment. Commuters are already suffering as a result of traffic congestion. The scheduled arrival of the new airport in 2026 will lead to continued growth in the local and visitor population. We must get connectivity by public transport underway now.

In the interests of our State and the economic, social and educational benefits to our communities, we must ensure that organisations across all fields choose to invest in the future of our region. To do so, Labor must wake up and realise we are already in March 2024 and the airport is scheduled to open in 2026. We cannot wait any longer. We are paying the price for Labor's complacency, with big corporations such as Amazon walking away from their plans. I wonder how many other organisations are revisiting or rethinking their investments in light of Amazon's decision. I call on Labor to stand up and deliver infrastructure for the people of western and south‑western Sydney.

Mr MATT CROSS (Davidson) (17:38:55):

By leave: First of all, I acknowledge the great leaders from the Davidson electorate in the gallery. I thank them for coming to the New South Wales Parliament. What they are seeing today is the public interest debate moved by the member for Wollondilly. The member for Wollondilly and, indeed, all members of this place are committed and passionate advocates for their communities. I welcome any motion that discusses the importance of infrastructure investments. I note that the previous Liberal‑Nationals Government invested a record $116 billion in infrastructure over four years. I say to the Treasurer and the Government that I am closely watching their infrastructure spend, as we need to make sure that we keep investing in infrastructure.

To slightly digress from the motion, I am advocating for a new hall at Davidson High School in my electorate. It was good to join the Minister for Transport to open the new Killara railway station. I am also fighting for the $9.8 million that was cut by Labor for Lindfield commuter parking. I turn to south-west Sydney, which forms part of the new engine room of New South Wales. South-west and Western Sydney deserve their fair share of infrastructure, like every community. I first met the member for Wollondilly when she was the mayor of Wollondilly in 2007, when I, as a very young adviser to Barry O'Farrell, came to visit—

Mrs Tanya Davies:

Very young.


I note the interjection. I visited Wollondilly as an adviser to Barry O'Farrell. The visit was about promoting infrastructure. Paragraph (4) of the motion rightfully calls on the Government to recognise future growth and population. It mentions the new aerotropolis, which is scheduled to open in 2026, and the importance of supporting infrastructure for that, in particular connecting the aerotropolis with the rest of Sydney, including south-west Sydney. I have been a vocal supporter of the new aerotropolis. How good will the new metro line be when the airport opens? We will have a major piece of infrastructure with another major piece of infrastructure already there before it opens. That is how proper planning should happen.

The Daily Telegraph

In on 16 January 2024, I noted that the "metro is more than connecting travellers to the new airport. It is connecting communities to new jobs and new homes". We cannot have those precincts empty when the metro opens in 2026. The member for Wollondilly is calling for the completion of the Maldon‑Dombarton railway line, a 35-kilometre line that commenced in 1983, linking the main south line at Maldon to Dombarton near Port Kembla. In 2014 the Baird Government had Transport for NSW undertake a registration of interest, inviting the private sector to make comment on the construction, operation and maintenance of the line. The Liberals and The Nationals did the proper research around planning. The registration of interest determined that the line:

... would need substantial ongoing State Government funding and policy support to make it commercially sustainable and that the existing infrastructure is sufficient to manage the short- to medium‑term rail capacity requirements for the Illawarra.

In 2017 a business case was undertaken by the independent Infrastructure Australia, which stated the project would take five years to build and, back then, would cost $805 billion. However, it said that the project cost‑benefit analysis ratio was 0.9. What was Labor's response to that over the years? In 2017 the member for Wollongong, the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, said, "The dilly-dally shenanigans must end, and the curse on this project must be lifted once and for all." Where is the member for Wollongong? Sadly, he is not here.

It is disappointing for the member for Wollondilly that there are Labor members of Parliament, in opposition or now in government, saying that they support a development on this line, yet they are not here for this debate. They are not here to front up and talk about what they are going to do. I look forward to the Labor Government's response to the member for Wollondilly's request. As a member of the Liberal Party in opposition, I look forward to continuing to have discussions and listening to the member for Wollondilly. I thank the member for Wollondilly for fighting for infrastructure for her community.

Mrs JUDY HANNAN (Wollondilly) (17:43:50):

In reply: I thank the member for Coogee, the member for Oatley, the member for Leppington, the member for Holsworthy, the member for Kiama, the member for Badgerys Creek and the member for Davidson for their contributions. Wollondilly has been forgotten for too long. It was interesting to hear members talk about Fifteenth Avenue, Henry Lawson Drive, bus routes and achievements like Liverpool Hospital, Campbelltown Hospital and the great schools at Edmondson Park and Gregory Hills. Not one of those things is in Wollondilly. I do not think that members know where Wollondilly is. I am disappointed by the political spin and slander, with members throwing insults across the Chamber and talking about what they have done in their particular areas. It is important for young people to hear that this is what happens in this place. There are two opposing groups that continue to insult each other and talk about what they have done and how great they are. That is why I have ended up in here as an Independent member. That is exactly why I got voted in.

My community is disappointed by what has happened in this place. They are disappointed by the fact that there is only one hospital in an area as big as the whole of the Sydney metropolitan area. Not one of the hospitals mentioned during the debate is in my area, and it would take an hour for people from my community to get to one of them. I challenge each and every member who believes they know where Wollondilly is to meet me in Wilton, but I want them to come by public transport to see if they actually get there. They had better put good sandshoes on because they will be walking there. All we have there is houses. Wollondilly gets the houses because members say, "We do not want to build up. We do not want them in our area." They are happy for me to get the houses and the population, but those people will not have access to services. The houses may be cheaper, but people will not be able to afford to live there.

We cannot cut what has happened previously. Both sides are at fault for not delivering the things that could have been delivered at probably a fiftieth of the cost if both sides had worked together instead of opposing each other all the time. All I want is the best for my community, the people of Macarthur and the people of New South Wales. If members of this place do not start getting along with each other and they continue to carry on like pork chops, we will end up, hopefully, with a whole lot more Independent members in not only Federal but State Government and council. Members can come and meet me in Wilton, and then we will talk about it.

TEMPORARY SPEAKER (Mr Alex Greenwich):

The question is that the motion be agreed to.

Motion agreed to.